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19 April 2004

An interesting organization based in the UK Swap And Play is using the Internet as a way to get people together face to face to lend each other music, games and videos as physical objects – something that is somewhat more cumbersome than peer to peer network-mediated file sharing but is of course completely legal (as far as I can see). A friend of mine is already doing this on a “more private basis”:http://blog.cfrq.net/chk/archives/000598.html using the “Open Media Lending Database”:http://opendb.sourceforge.net/.

16 April 2004

Lessig’s arguments are familiar to me by now (as they will be to many readers) – what is striking and important about his work is that he buttresses these arguments about the rather dry topic of copyright law with well-chosen and interesting examples.

He suggests that copyright owners are no more entitled to use digital right management to hold back file sharing than “the Causbys had to hold back flight”:http://blogspace.com/freeculture/Introduction because property rights extend to the sky.

He points out that in the battle between the capabilities of new technology and law that would mis-regulate it, the common sense does not always win (citing the sad case of Edwin Howard Armstrong whose invention of FM radio was stifled by RCA in America).

And he slyly uses the example of “Disney’s own work”:http://blogspace.com/freeculture/Creators which was very often derived from or inspired by the work of others to suggest that it is wrong for corporations (like Disney) to prevent others from producing derivative works based on their own characters.

And that’s just what I’ve come across in the introduction and first chapter. Hopefully the accessibility and clear logic of this work will ensure it gets read more widely than just among us Internet policy wonks.

See my “earlier post”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_copyright.html#001080 for information about how to download or listen to the book – you may also wish to simply “buy it from Amazon”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1594200068/lessigorg-20?creative=125581&camp=2321&link_code=as1 or “read it online”:http://blogspace.com/freeculture/Main_Page in an annotatable wiki form.

10 April 2004

“Free Culture”:http://www.free-culture.cc/, “Lawrence Lessig”:http://www.lessig.org/’s latest invaluable manifesto on the need to reform copyright which has been “taking the blogorati by storm”:http://allconsuming.net/item.cgi?isbn=1594200068 is available for free in “lots of digital formats”:http://www.free-culture.cc/remixes/ including “as audio”:http://akma.disseminary.org/archives/001253.html (which is how I intend to ‘read’ it).

Thanks to Tim Aldrich for the link

28 February 2004

Telltale Weekly is a scheme which offers audio books in MP3 or Ogg format charging from $0.25 a story. After five years (or 100,000 downloads) each audio clip will be put into the public domain. It’s great way to fund the development of a public domain library. I have my doubts about whether they will get anything like enough customers to make it worthwhile but it is certainly an interesting and valuable thing to try.

Alas the list of “upcoming releases”:http://telltaleweekly.com/index.php?Show=Schedule is not very exciting – but you are encouraged to “make your own suggestion”:http://telltaleweekly.com/index.php?Show=Feedback – personally I would like to hear an English translation of Flaubert’s Sentimental Education…

I wonder if librarians could get together and give Project Gutenberg and other similar projects like this one an idea of which are the most important texts to work with? I can’t believe that what the world needs next is texts like “The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction”:http://www.gutenberg.net/1/1/3/4/11348/11348-h/11348-h.htm (the latest text produced by the “Distributed Proofreader”:http://www.pgdp.net/ project.

Thanks to “BoingBoing”:http://boingboing.net/ and “Ben Hammersley”:http://www.benhammersley.com/dparchives/008110.html for the link.

17 February 2004

Apparently they intend to sue if there are any public readings of Joyce’s work (which is still in copyright) during the festival commemorating the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday this June – more details “here”:http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2004/0209/2893527271HM3JOYCE.html (registration required). “Cory Doctorow”:http://craphound.com/ is rightly outraged.
thanks to Boing Boing and Lawrence Lessig for the link.

It’s so outrageous that you might almost think it was part of a conspiracy to make the EU’s current copyright stance look foolish.

2 February 2004

Most of the way down an article in the New York Times – The Coming Search Wars (MS vs Google) comes an interesting revelation:

“an ambitious secret effort known as Project Ocean, according to a person involved with the operation. With the cooperation of Stanford University, Google now plans to digitize the entire collection of the vast Stanford Library published before 1923, which is no longer limited by copyright restrictions. The project could add millions of digitized books that would be available exclusively via Google.”

It’s just a pity the number of years we have to wait to get ahold of copyright material keeps lengthening…

12 January 2004

Prof “Lessig”:http://www.lessig.org/ gave another barnstorming performance in a visit to a small, packed room full of LSE media and regulation students. I had heard much of his presentation before last year at a presentation he made in Oxford but there were some interesting new factoids in the latest version – notably:

* The average time a book remains in print is about one year.
* There are 100k titles “alive” in Amazon but 26m titles that have been printed and are available in the Library of Congress.
* Products from one part of a big corporation tend to get used in movies and other programmes made by that company not necessarily because of straightforward plugging but simply because the process of copyright clearance is easier with products from inside those corporations than outside.
* Before the 1976 copyright act in the US, copyright holders had to re-assert their copyright periodically. Only 10-20% of them did so.
* Whoever managed the ebook distribution of his book “The Future of Ideas”:http://the-future-of-ideas.com/ set the DRM flag in Acrobat not to allow anyone to copy text from, print or even have the book read aloud. Talk about an own goal!

9 November 2003

As most of you will know by now, Amazon has started enabling people to search for text within 120,000 of its titles and view selected pages from the books – a feature that has inspired some interesting thoughts about where search could go next.

Steven Johnson in Slate suggests you should be able to tell Amazon which books you own and do a search just on those – it would get info on what you have already which it can use to sell you new books and you would get a search engine covering your paper library.

“Gary Wolf in Wired”:http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,60948,00.html uses the news of the new service to delve into the politics of copyright protection and puts the service into context with attempts to publish out of copyright works for free on the web like Project Gutenberg and on-demand book publishing.

Amazon in an attempt to calm nervous publishers “has announced”:http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/3102731 already sales growth for searchable titles outpaced non-searchable titles by 9 percent – though “one blogger”:http://scrivenerserror.blogspot.com/2003_10_01_scrivenerserror_archive.html#106764958373017865 has pointed out this could be a one-off novelty effect.

“Steven Kaye”:http://vheissu.typepad.com/about.html has been tracking the Amazon book deal on “his weblog”:http://vheissu.typepad.com/blog/ in more detail. P.S. I had refrained from commenting on this so far because for the moment I am unable to use Amazon’s book search. It turns out (in my case at least) since I haven’t bought books from the US operation recently they can’t verify my credit card even though it is valid and therefore won’t let me see the pages. Frustrating!

Following on from that news, it turns out Google has its own book search plans covering 60,000 titles and is also going to incorporate links to library catalogues – some two million of the most popular books will be indexed and readers in North America (and only there for the moment it seems) will be directed to their nearest library that stocks the book when they enter the postcode.

All of this is very welcome news – there is a lot more “quality” information around in paper form than the Internet alone provides so people should be encouraged to broaden their searches to include books.

18 September 2003

I “never thought it would happen”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_online_media.html#000861, but here’s a major media organization that is going to produce and promote its own peer to peer application. The BBC’s new media director Ashley Highfield just revealed plans to produce, “a fully flexible, platform-neutral, super EPG… that will allow TV content to be recorded TiVo-style.” I’m guessing that it won’t be designed to allow general p2p file sharing – only sharing of BBC content. It’s a little unclear at present whether we’re talking about a set-top box application or something for PCs or both. I hope more detail will emerge soon…

I’m even more delighted that the BBC is going to try to produce ‘ultra-local TV news’ accessable via iTV. I hope this move will not be led merely by the local radio stations but will also give a variety of local groups access to the media.

Thanks to “Techdirt”:http://techdirt.com/articles/20030918/068232.shtml for the link

31 August 2003

… but unfortunately when the “Software & Information Industry Association”:http://www.spa.org/ tried to educate kids with this video “Don’t Copy That Floppy”:http://static.hugi.is/video/fyndin/dctf-1.wmv they produced something truly embarrassing (which is presumably why the video is – ironically – now only available as a file on a server in Iceland).

(The SIIA’s rapping lecturer)

I wonder if it is possible to tell kids not to break the law or to avoid doing something stupid without coming across as ridiculous or painfully earnest?

_Thanks to “NTK”:http://www.ntk.net/2003/08/29/ for the link_

Also see “this New York Times article”:http://mbhs.bergtraum.k12.ny.us/cybereng/nyt/mbhs-nyt.htm – again, ironically, pirated from the NYT archives (though admittedly for educational use).videos shemale amature sexvideos women sex abusedteenagers more alcohol50 cent sex tapeporn pics amatueradult porn forumadult sextoy shoptechniques sex advertising appeal Map

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